Monday, December 3, 2012

Have You Seen My Books?

Books + the ever-present and
increasingly necessary reading glasses.
I love books. I love the way they feel and smell. Over the years, books have lifted me up, made me laugh and cry, inspired me and consoled me. They have been my friends.

Unfortunately, I've given many of my friends away. Each time I've moved, I've culled through my books, out of necessity, to get them down to a manageable number. Invariably, I think of a book I want to re-read or peruse for whatever reason, only to find that it's missing. And I grieve losing that book all over again.

I have several e-books, but they're not the same as the print version. Granted, they take up minimal space, and there's no need to hunt for them on my bookshelf, but I can't touch them. I can't slide my fingers between the pages in anticipation of turning the next one to see what happens. And, although I suppose I could peek at the end, it doesn't feel the same as flipping to the last page, quickly scanning for meaningful information, and then slamming it shut because I don't want to know too much. Glancing at the conclusion is a delicate balance, honed through years of practice. 

Whenever I'm embarking on a new adventure, I tend to buy lots of books related to it. When I got sober, I bought everything my sponsor suggested. While working on my MLA (Masters of Landscape Architecture), I scoured half-priced bookstores for anything related to landscape architecture or plants. During my teaching years, I searched for classroom management manuals or writing tips. And, since I love to travel, I've picked up numerous books in that subject as well.

I suppose I come by this love of books honestly. My grandmother (for whom I'm named) collected books about Texas, which my father continued. After his death, my brother and I split them up. Some of them are dry accounts of the economics or legislature of the State at the time, but many of them are first hand accounts of life in the "olden" days. 

My library is more manageable (size-wise) than in the past, but I miss the books I've given away (some of which I've replaced!). Hopefully we'll move into our forever home in CO in the not-too-distant future, and my heart goes pitty-pat when I find pictures of a home with bookshelves. I see myself, lounging on a chaise in front of a fire, blissfully reading while the snow falls gently outside. 


It just doesn't get much better than that.

Are you a bibliophile? Do you have piles of books? How do you feel about e-books versus print books?

Have you been there?


  1. Claire, I am most definitely a bibliophile. I've loved books since I learned to read when I was 4. We had no TV because my father didn't like them (until the first SuperBowl, but that's another story), but we did read aloud to each other (my father, my mother, and me). We moved often and I didn't always make friends in the short time we were anywhere, so the first thing I looked for was the public library. Books were reliable BFFs. Now, I read 2 or 3 books a week. I have a Kindle (I was one of their charter customers) and have upgraded twice since then. I like my Kindle--and the 700+ books I've either read, or will read, that I've got "stored." I didn't think I missed reading old-fashioned, "real" books, but I'm reading the hard copy of The Cloud Atlas this week. It's made me realize that I really do enjoy turning pages and wearing my ubiquitous reading glasses. I went out and bought three more "real" books! I'll probably pass them all on to someone else who loves books. I think books should be read by as many people as possible. When I give a book to another reader, I ask them to pass it on when they've read it. I like to imagine my books being read and loved as they are passed from hand to hand.

  2. Yay! A kindred spirit! I love "real" books, but I'll take 'em however I can get 'em! Thanks Suzy!

  3. Real books - any day of the week! My grandfather has been cleaning out his bookshelves lately and even though I have no room for them, I take whatever he wants to give to me.

  4. I know.....I just can't get used to reading on kindle. Handy, but....... Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Both. I like the convenience of downloading a sample to my iPad to preview a book. BUT, placing a book on my shelf (shelves) after finishing is like a way to display my literary trophies. Plus I won't read on my iPad in the bathtub or the swimming pool.
    In my world, there's room for both :)

  6. Still catching up...


    If I'm reading fiction, I prefer an e-book. I can take it with me anywhere, and if it's on my Nook, I can read it in the sun, which helps when I'm by or in the pool (of course, I have to put a Nook condom on it - i.e. waterproof zip-lock bag, just in case), I have both the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone & tablet, which allow me to read in the dark or in the shade,

    For reference (and I have actually been using a LOT of reference books lately), I prefer an honest to goodness, real live book so that I can mark the pages with highlighter and fold the page corners and put sticky notes between the pages for bookmarks. There is nothing that irritates me more than not being able to get to a bookmarked section when I need it and having to scroll through a list of bookmarked areas. I am a visual person, and if I can actually see the physical book and where the markers are? I can usually go right to what I'm looking for.

    So yes, both, please. :)


Yes! I've been there, Claire!